Who gets sickle cell disease?
In the United States, sickle cell disease is most common among African-Americans. One in 500 African-American children in this country is born with sickle cell disease. About 72,000 people in the US currently have sickle cell disease, and it affects people all over the world. Sickle cell disease is not contagious, meaning that it cannot be spread from person to person through the air or through contact. Rather, sickle cell disease is inherited. This means that the disease is passed through families, from parents to their children. Each time a baby is born, he or she has two genes that determine the make-up of the hemoglobin one that comes from the mother and one that comes from the father.